Release Date: August 9th, 2011
(thank you to Netgalley!)
Published by: Candlewick Press
A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan
Rosalinda Fitzroy has been asleep for sixty-two years when she is woken by a kiss.
Locked away in the chemically induced slumber of a stasis tube in a forgotten sub-basement, sixteen-year-old Rose slept straight through the Dark Times that killed millions and utterly changed the world she knew. Now her parents and her first love are long dead, and Rose -- hailed upon her awakening as the long-lost heir to an interplanetary empire -- is thrust alone into a future in which she is viewed as either a freak or a threat.
Desperate to put the past behind her and adapt to her new world, Rose finds herself drawn to the boy who kissed her awake, hoping that he can help her to start fresh. But when a deadly danger jeopardizes her fragile new existance, Rose must face the ghosts of her past with open eyes -- or be left without any future at all.
1. (+) Rose, the protagonist - One of the characters comments that hanging out with Rose is "easy." It's true. She doesn't have a particularly assertive personality, but she's nice and shy and tries to understand the world that she's now been thrust into. I mostly empathized with her because of her situation--everyone she loves is gone by the time she wakes up and she's constantly tired (and anorexic-looking). She uses her art as a means of viewing and understanding the people around her, and you can tell that she's brilliant at it... and that she has the potential to realize this about herself. Stay with her (try not to get too frustrated with her disparaging comments) and watch her mature--she'll grow on you.
2. (+) World-building - Lots and lots of details to this story that I love. The Dark Times and the careful history Ms. Sheehan has created for them... planetary expansion and hover cars and stass tubes to pass the time and teenagers using words like comm and sky to say 'understand' and 'cool' and alien DNA offspring and corpses made into machines and man-made islands... so, so much. Developed enough to intrigue you but with potential for more. Well done.
3. (+) Emotional Journey - This is pretty much the driving force of the story. What Rose has to undergo to realize who she is. What she's gone through in her past... and why that could affect her future. She has to mature a lot. She gains a sense of self-worth, which others have destroyed for her, and learns how to cope with problems the normal way and not avoid them. I still got frustrated with Rose--beware, if you read: Rose does blame herself unnecessarily--but in the end, the fact that those feelings had been so ingrained in her only makes the journey that much more touching.
4. (+) Side Characters - Rose doesn't talk to a lot of people... so then the people who are in her life are people she's really close with... which I really liked because I felt like I knew the characters (well, except for maybe the bomb Ms. Sheehan drops on you at the end-ish) and thought that they were well-developed.
5. (+) Romance - At first, it seems like Rose and Brendan are going to have a typical YA romance with the girl obsessing about the guys's eyes and whatnot... but she doesn't. I'm not going to say why-- there's so much more to the story. Rose is also getting over Xavier, her ex boyfriend.... Ultimately what really makes the romance shine is the twist Ms. Sheehan throws at you, skewing your whole perspective on Xavier & Brendan. It was so unexpected... and weird... but unique enough that I loved it.
6. (--) Multi-perspectives - There were two perspectives--Rose's and the Plasticine's, aka the villain's accomplice of sorts. I don't think that having that second perspective was helpful at all. For one, the Plasticine can't feel anything so seeing into its thoughts did not help character development. Two, the Plasticine sections were mostly repetitions, telling us that yes, the principal was unavailable and that it had to go after Rose. And three, it didn't really build any suspense. I understand that that was probably the main intention, but I just couldn't get into it. And I did not feel how dangerous the Plasticine was from the perspective. More full-blown scenes with the Plasticine would have been better.
7. (--) Not Quite What I Expected - When I first read the summary, I thought there'd be more fantasy, more adventure... and when the first paragraph and title call Sleeping Beauty to mind, I thought there'd be that sort of sparkle to the story. Instead it was haunting, much more of an emotional and character-oriented story than I expected. I like those kind of stories, but I was also craving some action. And as much as I liked seeing Rose develop, I also felt incredibly frustrated with her. When a protagonist constantly belittles herself and does little about it, it's hard to not feel frustrated.
8. (+) The Writing - For a sci-fi, fantasy-esque world, there weren't too many descriptions that bogged me down. In fact, I loved the details Ms. Sheehan included... and honestly, it was just easy to slip into Rose's perspective. Only a few times did I slip up and I already wrote about why that was.
9. (--) The Pacing - My issue with pacing here is that the first attack on Rose happens pretty early... and then there's nothing for like 100 pages... and then yet again, at the end, everything picks up. Granted, there is an explanation for why the attacks happen when they do but I honestly would've enjoyed it more if they were more constant... it would've kept me more hooked and made the Plasticine threat more real.
10. (+/-) The Cover - This cover is actually really pretty and drew my eyes... but after having read the book, it makes me wonder why this is its cover. It fits her name and gives it a fairy-tale feel, but Rose in the stass tube could have emphasized the setting, the tale, and the growth she'd have to undergo.
A well-written fairy-tale-like and futuristic exploration of one girl's attempt to familiarize herself with a world that she once knew but no longer recognizes.